MALE, July 22 -- Tourist numbers to Maldives have passed the 600,000 mark in the first six months of 2014 with China posting a hefty 20.2-percent growth from the previous year, the Maldives Tourism Ministry said in its latest data on Tuesday.
In total 601,513 tourists have visited Maldives in the first six months of 2014. This is an 11.5-percent increase compared to the corresponding period of last year when 539,667 tourists visited the string of islands in the Indian Ocean famous for its pristine beaches.
China currently holds the record for the most number of tourist arrivals from a single country with 171,249 tourists entering Maldives this year so far. Most of the tourists who visited Maldives this year came from the European countries. A total of 279,886 tourists from various European countries have visited Maldives this year so far.
Among the European countries, most of the tourists who visited Maldives appear to be from Germany with a total of 43,188 tourists.
Asia and the Pacific Region held the second-most number of arrivals, 279,621, at the end of June 2014, leading to a growth rate of 22.3 percent for the period.
Even though the number of tourist arrivals have increased, the amount of time they spend in the Maldives has decreased by 0.4 percent, the Maldives Tourism Ministry said in its data.
According to the statistics, a tourist spends an average of 6.3 days in the Maldives.
The Maldivian economy is largely dependent on tourism, which accounted for 28 percent of GDP on average in the past five years, and generated 38 percent of government revenue in 2012.